About Student Leadership Development

The Division of Student Affairs at the University of West Florida has made a commitment to use the Social Change Model of Leadership Development as its central leadership development model across departments.


The Social Change Model emphasizes a nonhierarchical approach to leadership, based around seven critical values to leadership development that are grouped into three categories.

Individual: Personal values are those that an individual strives to develop and exhibit at the group activity level. As personal qualities that support group functioning, they are essential in leadership for social change.

  • Consciousness of Self: Being self-aware of the beliefs, values, attitudes,and emotions that motivate one to take action, including how one understands others.
  • Congruency: Thinking, feeling, and behaving with consistency, genuineness, authenticity, and honesty toward others.
  • Commitment: Having significant investment in an idea or person, both in terms of intensity and duration. Having the energy to serve the group and its goals. It requires a significant involvement and investment of one’s self in the activity and its intended outcomes. It is the energy that drives the collective effort.

Group: Group values are expressed and practiced in the group work of leadership activity. Group values are reflected in such questions as, how can the collaboration be developed in order to effect positive social change? What are the elements of group interaction that promote collective leadership?

  • Collaboration: Working with others in a common effort, sharing responsibility, authority, and accountability. Multiplying group effectiveness by capitalizing on various perspectives and talents, and on the power of diversity to generate creative solutions and actions.
  • Common Purpose: Having shared aims and values. Involving others in building a group’s vision and purpose.
  • Controversy with Civility: Recognizing two fundamental realities of any creative effort: 1) that differences in viewpoint are inevitable, and 2) that such differences must be aired openly but with civility.

Community: A commitment to social change connects individuals and their collaborative groups to their communities. How can involvement in positive change in the community promote group collaboration and develop individual character?

  • Citizenship: Believing in a process whereby an individual and/or a group become responsibly connected to the community and to society through some activity. Recognizing that members of communities are not independent, but interdependent. Recognizing individuals and groups have responsibility for the welfare of others.

Source: Astin, H. S., & Astin, A. W. (1996). A social change model of leadership development guidebook 3 Ed. The National Clearinghouse of Leadership Programs.

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